THE MU­SIC SHOP

North & South - - Photo Essay - SUE HOFFART

RACHEL JOYCE (DOU­BLE­DAY, $37)

Gen­tle, sham­bling mu­sic­store owner Frank is some­thing of a sa­vant when it comes to se­lect­ing life-chang­ing mu­sic for his cus­tomers. But he will only stock records and this is 1988 Bri­tain, when com­pact discs are usurp­ing vinyl and de­vel­op­ers are carv­ing up small shop­ping cen­tres. Frank is de­ter­minedly fend­ing off both threats, fight­ing for the sta­tus quo along­side a cast of colour­ful neigh­bours, when charm­ing Ilse Brauch­mann makes her dra­matic en­trance and change be­comes in­evitable. Cen­tral as the ten­ta­tive ro­mance is to this big­hearted tale, Joyce writes about other re­la­tion­ships – cur­rent friend­ships, tragic bonds, com­mu­nity ties – with equal wit and warmth. She has an ear for both mu­sic and di­a­logue.

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